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CEO of state-owned Oman Oil Company, Ahmad al-Wahaibi

A court in Oman sentenced the CEO of state-owned Oman Oil Company, Ahmad al-Wahaibi, to 23 years in jail  Thursday for taking bribes, abusing his office, and money laundering.

The Court of First Instance in Muscat handed down the sentence.

A former aide to the minister of the now-dissolved economy ministry was also convicted for organizing a bribe that was offered to al-Wahaibi by a senior official from  South Korea-based LGI.

The former aide, Adel al-Raisi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The senior official at LGI, Myung Jao Yoo, was found guilty of paying an $8 million bribe to a Caribbean-registered company owned by al-Wahaibi to secure a large-scale petrochemical project in Oman.

He was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Al-Wahaibi admitted receiving money from Myung, but he pleaded not guilty to the charge of taking bribes, saying he did not know why LGI transferred $8 million into his company. He admitted depositing the money into the accounts of his company and then giving the two other defendants their shares.

Raisi pleaded not guilty, saying he was coerced to confess during interrogations, and only admitted brokering the deal and receiving the money under pressure.

Myung admitted receiving money from al-Wahaibi, but said in court that he did not remember why, and “maybe it was a birthday gift.”

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos has waged an anti-graft campaign to defuse mass protests in several Omani cities that began in 2011.

Earlier this month, Oman’s National Gas Company’s chief executive, Goutam Sen, was detained by the public prosecutor over suspected bribery.

In November, the head of the tenders committee at Oman’s state-run Petroleum Development Oman went on trial for taking a bribe from two local executives.

Oman Oil Company is a national oil investment company and arm of the government of Oman.

Reprinted with permission of the FCPA Blog (c) 2014 All Rights Reserved